What is BIM Software?
Building information modelling (BIM) is a new process used in the construction and design industry for creating and managing a project across its whole lifespan.
The software allows architects to design a project which can be accessed online by the whole construction team, project owner, and anyone else involved, who can all input their own ideas and views and keep track of the project as throughout every step of its creation.
The BIM software brings together all key areas of a project to one place. From the initial land plans all the way through to demolition and reuse of materials. The software can be used as a timeline of events for all those involved to keep track of each development phase and plan accordingly.
BIM is causing the construction industry as a whole to undergo its very own digital revolution by allowing the whole process of project creation to be managed at key stages by multiple people in a team environment. This results in a more efficient method of managing the lifecycle of the project, whilst reducing the risk of error caused by communication and human error.
How is it affecting Architects?
For architects that choose to use BIM, the benefits can prove to be very effective for their business.
Adopting advanced technology can open up a broader prospective client base and attract more business. An architect that is able to offer the use of BIM opens up the possibilities of working with other construction individuals that also use the BIM software.
BIM makes it easier to make alterations and automatically update the models, eliminating the need to make multiple new drawings.
“It basically obviates the need for boring repetitive tasks and it saves a lot of time.” – Benjamin Marks, Architect
Its very common for architects to spend a lot of time in meetings with different members of the projects, however, the BIM software improves the efficiency of project management, meaning less time is wasted in meetings with each member of the build.
The technology can help smaller practices and individual consultants compete with larger, better-staffed firms. It also enables more transparency in the design process and reduces the room for error which can quite commonly fall in the architects hands and be very costly.
Other benefits of using BIM include:
- Better planning and design: Using BIM, allows consultants to visualize a completed project with all of the required components and systems before the first digger arrives on site. This allows improved planning and design that can utilise all available space and resources.
- Fewer reworks: BIM allows consultants to identify potential risks and prevent them from occurring. This reduces the need for costly rework and revision.
- Savings on materials: BIM systems track and monitor resource and material levels providing detailed information on what is needed for the project before it even begins reducing the need to order more materials than needed, reducing waste.
- Support for prefabrication: BIM allows you and your partners to more easily prefabricate components of the project offsite, which saves time and money.
Whilst BIM holds many benefits for consultant architects, it’s important to note the potential downsides too. The software only allows users to create with features already included in the programme which could prevent architects from including unique ideas and restricting imagination.
Whilst the software requires a significant investment in technology (individual licences costing around £4,000 per year) the benefits of using BIM are said to be worth the initial expenditure as they also reduce the risk of any discrepancies and abortive costs. Providing the project is set up correctly allowing the true benefits of BIM to be realised, the cost of investment should be met, and most likely exceeded.
How is BIM impacting the construction industry as a whole?
As stated in the 2016 BIM Report, 54% of construction consultants are now aware of and using BIM on at least some of their projects, with 42% saying they were just aware of BIM, and 4% were neither aware nor using.
“ In a years’ time 86% expect to be using BIM on at least some of their projects – and that number increases to 97% in five years’ time making BIM universal and routine assuming good intentions are realised.”
The future of the construction industry will see an increase in the use of advanced technologies in the years to come and BIM will become the future of design acting as a long term essential tool for design and project management.
As cloud applications become more capable of managing large quantities of data and information, BIM will become more prevalent to the construction industry as a whole, rather than just for architects and key members of the project.
The future of BIM aims to benefit the construction industry by reducing emissions, improving delivery times and lowering costs of projects.
“39% of those working in British construction (architects, engineers and surveyors) think it will lead to a 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions”. – source